When she raced on the tracks of Jakarta in the Asian Games 2018, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand made the heads turn for her in the stadium. Evidently, for more than a decade, young Indians have been reading about the achievements of the ‘Queen of Indian track and fields’, PT Usha in the sports arena. But it is about time when the world will know about the shining sprinter Dutee Chand who is making the country proud in the Asian Games 2018.
As we watched this 5 ft tall woman hurling herself out of the block bringing soul to the tracks, Dutee Chand clinched the silver medal in women’s 100m dash at the sports event. With her debut in the Asian Games, India won the first medal in 20 years at the Asian Games 2018, all thanks to her. Running in lane number 7, she clocked 11.32 seconds, just a bit below her national record of 11.29 seconds.
In 2012, Dutee Chand became a national champion in the under-18 category after she clocked 11.8 seconds in the 100 meters race and created history. Later, she went to participate in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships and won two bronze medals.
Surprisingly, the 22-year-old sprinter from Odisha has faced a lot of difficulties in her sporting career due to her gender dispute case. In 2014, after an anonymous complaint, the Athletics Federation of India banned her from the 2014 Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after conducting some tests on her. Later, she found out that she had hyperandrogenism, a condition in which the body produces a large amount of testosterone.
Evidently, the tests that were conducted on her were done to specify her gender and hyperandrogenism, that made her ineligible to participate as a female athlete, because of the amount of testosterone as told by the guidelines of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). After being suspended by IAAF in 2014, Dutee filed an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sports and brilliantly won it.
Claiming that she ran with her eyes closed, in her recent interview, Dutee Chand said:
“I ran the last 30 metres almost with my eyes closed, I was pushing myself that much. At the end, I wasn’t sure if I even had the medal, so I didn’t grab a flag. Once they showed it on the screen, I felt confident enough to celebrate.”
Dutee Chand has proved her game after facing hardships through her life to win silver in the women’s 100m in a praiseworthy photo-finish. She indeed became the magic marker for the Indian athletes around the world. For many, Indian athletes start with Milkha Singh and end at PT Usha. But Dutee changed all that with her remarkable performance.